Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe
Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe

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"A single batch of these mouthwatering cookies is never enough," attests Doris Marshall of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. "I usually make one to give away and two more to keep at home. Adding ricotta cheese to the batter makes the morsels extra moist."—Doris Marshall, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
MAKES:51 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
MAKES: 51 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • Colored sprinkles

Nutritional Facts

2 each: 150 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 131mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (15g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.


  1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and vanilla. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Italian Christmas Cookies in Country Woman November/December 1999, p41

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burgerwoman User ID: 5234318 261504
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2017

"How much anise would you use in this recipe?"

Kim0827 User ID: 8763291 258248
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2016

"A nice sweet soft cookie. I expected them to come out rounder and not spread as much as they did. I used 4 cups of Confection sugar and had to add a bit more milk. The recipe does not state that the frosting needs to be beaten with a beater but that was what I did and it worked out well. Had some left over after icing the cookies. Not a hard recipe but time consuming mostly because it makes so many cookies. And the icing and sprinkling takes awhile."

Sallie User ID: 2195249 256649
Reviewed Nov. 11, 2016

"Made these cookies yesterday and they are so good. Used real butter and followed the recipe except for the frosting. Used 4 cups of confectionery sugar, 6 tbs of butter and added milk until correct spreading consistency and a good quality vanilla. Do not use low fat ricotta cheese. May try lemon zest in cookies next time for variation."

Inessa1103 User ID: 8190760 240816
Reviewed Jan. 1, 2016

"I made them a few times and added lemon zest to the mix and to the glaze and they tasted fantastic!"

karinmair User ID: 4663623 239825
Reviewed Dec. 20, 2015

"The only good thing about these cookies is the texture. The flavor is quite bland. Will probably not make again."

redcottagechronicles User ID: 7297725 238532
Reviewed Dec. 1, 2015

"These moist, cake-like cookies were flying off the cooling rack before they were even frosted! Makes a nice big batch and freeze well too."

kimbojones User ID: 5394373 237413
Reviewed Nov. 15, 2015

"I lost my great-grandmother's recipe for ricotta cookies, and have been looking for something similar...these are as close as it comes! Nonna always used almond or anise flavoring, so I added 2 tsp almond emulsion. As soon as they were out of the oven, it was like I was in Nonna's kitchen again! So good! I'll try the anise next time. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and giving me the opportunity to reconnect with the past!"

jumpseatjen User ID: 6748822 215342
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"I loved these cookies in years past, but this year I have a daughter that is gluten intolerant, and am wondering if anyone has tried the gf flour (i got mine at Costco) and did they turn out??"

murrell006 User ID: 2357453 73438
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2013

"I have been making this cookie at least since 2006. It is a hit every year. My size is larger than a tsp closer to a tbsp"

karsmitty2 User ID: 2642616 36983
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2013

"These cookies are the best! So moist & delicious."

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